A young girl from Tripura helped put India on the global gymnastics map, when she pulled off the ‘vault of death'(Produnova Vault) at the Rio games, becoming just the 5th woman in the history of the sport to do so.
The country waited with bated breath when she attempted it in the finals of the Rio games, and went into a frenzy when she successfully managed to complete it and secure the 4th spot. A household name since then, Dipa has had to battle with an ACL injury and is still waiting to return to action.
But during all this time, Dipa has decided to look beyond the ‘Produnova’ vault and is now working on the ‘Handspring 540’ for the Commonwealth Games.
“There is a Handspring 540 degree turn which could be there (at CWG). It’s a twist movement in the air. In the handspring front movement, it’s the most difficult vault but below Produnova,” Karmakar said.
She then emphasised on the fact that her ACL tear is the reason for her switching to the Handspring 540, as she does not want to aggravate the injury further.
“I just had an ACL tear so I don’t want to take pressure. My main target is 2020 Olympics. If I can perform this Handspring 540 with perfection I can win a medal (at CWG). Produnova will also continue.” she said.
When asked if her absence from the World Championships would hamper her medals chances at the CWG, Karmakar said ” That’s not an issue since it’s all about practice. The standard of competition will be known to me after the World Championship. I will get to know what I need to practice, so I don’t need to compete to know it.”
“Maybe I had a grade II tear before the Rio Games and it became grade III after Rio. It’s normal in sportsperson’s life. The only thing is that the my practice time for CWG has been reduced by three to four months.”
Dipa’s coach, Bisweshwar Nandi explained the reason for choosing this new vault for the CWG games.
“She already knows two vaults and now I am teaching her a third one. She can perform any two but which two, that we have not decided. The basic training (for Handspring 540) has begun and after two months she will start performing.”
“We will remove one vault. It will be difficult to leave Produnova but it could be (taken off). Let’s see. There are chances to get more points by performing it (Handspring 540) with perfection. But Produnova is Produnova, if you can land perfectly, nothing can beat it, so we won’t leave Produnova.”
“It all depends on how she shapes up in the next five months. If she can get perfection, then we will have a choice. Produnova could be there, it could not be there,” Nandi said.
Dipa is still working on her rehab, and is desperate to return back to full fitness.
“After two months, I can enter the field, the rehabilitation is going well. I have to take my performance back to the top level. It’s been four months that I have not practised. I have begun now and mostly it is swimming, multi gym, strengthening,” Karmakar said.
Dipa is also learning to deal with the ‘celebrity status’ that she has received after the Rio Games.
“My life has not changed but it’s people’s perspective towards me which has changed (after Rio). They know me now, they know my sport. I have got a lot of support from Meraki Sport, Go Sports, SAI and I can’t say enough about support from my coaches and parents.” Dipa concluded.